Friday, March 03, 2006

Makin' my Oscar list and checkin' it twice

Oy, it's been one of those weeks. It seems like I've either been fighting a cold, dealing with pending computer issues (Hey, Toshiba! Feel free to process my #@$%ing order any time now!), or sitting - to quote myself from last night - "tit-deep" in all things Detroit Tigers for a magazine assignment.

So I have a few thoughts and ideas sitting in the "draft" box, waiting for some proper attention. I really do want to get to them, and not just because I want to, but because I should. So I will. Unfortunately, they'll probably have to wait until next week. If I don't do something to decompress, like walk around downtown, watch a movie, chill out with a book in a coffee shop, or peruse a bunch of stuff I shouldn't buy at a bookstore, my forehead might somehow crush itself under its own weight.

But with the Academy Awards coming up on Sunday night, I wanted to post my predictions. Just so I can brag (modestly, of course) if I get it right. I thought about live-blogging the show, but it's too damn long with so many awards that just don't warrant much response. Besides, that would keep me from chatting on the phone or instant-messaging, which is where most of the fun - unless you're at an Oscars party - comes in. I'll probably post some of my own awards, like I did last year, along with seeing how many picks I got wrong. I hope you guys join in, too.

Speaking of those picks...

Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain

Won't it be funny when the actress from Brokeback Mountain gets an award instead of the actors? But there's one moment when Williams really impressed me. When she catches her husband in a scenario she never imagined, she completely sold it. Many actresses probably would've overplayed it for the drama. But Williams didn't. Her devastation is all in her face. She's someone who doesn't know how to react. It seemed real to me, rather than acting.

Matt Dillon - Crash

I don't know if it's much of a stretch, but this is my go-out-on-a-limb pick. My man-crush, George Clooney probably won't forgive me. And Jake Gyllenhaal could win this. But if Crash is going to win any award (besides Best Original Screenplay), I think it'll happen here. If you think this movie is important, its message is most represented through Dillon's character. This might also serve as kind of a reward to Dillon for his career. But it's not like his performance doesn't deserve it.

Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line

It's surely unfair to say this is the weakest category when I've only seen one of the five nominated performances. But it looks that way to me. Walk the Line isn't much of a movie without Witherspoon because she has to make you believe she's someone Johnny Cash would fall in love with. And she does it. She's charming, she's funny, she's caring, and most of all, she's conflicted. And she shows her pain. But she's also fierce about what she believes in.
This is the lock of the night.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote

I know a lot of people think Heath Ledger should win this, and I wouldn't argue with that, but this should be the lock of the night. It's not about the funny voice and the arrogant personality (with a touch of flamboyance). It's about portraying a guy who's an outsider in one circumstance, and the life of the party in another. And he roots for something terrible to happen, knowing it will make his career, yet realizing it's wrong to wish for. Plus, isn't it about time Hoffman was rewarded for his work?

Ang Lee - Brokeback Mountain

I'll probably never forgive Ang Lee for making Hulk. That movie should've been - ahem - incredible. I don't know what the #@$% he was doing there. But I'm backing off a bit now, because he followed it up with a beautiful - and important - film. Lee doesn't hit you over the head with a message. He lets the images and the moments speak for themselves. And if Ledger, Gyllenhaal, and Williams are better here than in anything else they've done, shouldn't Lee get some credit for that?

Brokeback Mountain

It's almost impossible not to consider this movie's cultural impact when discussing its merits. (How many bad Brokeback jokes have you heard lately?) Maybe it's not as good as Crash or Capote. But I think it is. And considering the significance it carries, that's more than enough to give it Best Picture. This movie matters. And how many times can you say that? If it doesn't win, we'll be looking back in 10 years and asking what the #@$% happened. Because in 10 years, we'll still be talking about this film.

And for the writers in the house, I have to mention the screenplay awards. No surprises, though. Crash (which, yes, I finally watched, and yes, Hoyt, I really liked it) will win the BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY award and Brokeback Mountain will get BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY. The best movies of the year get what they deserve.

I can't wait. Do I get too excited about the Oscars? Probably. But hey, I love movies. And how great a host is Jon Stewart going to be? C'mon over, we'll have a party. Bring dip. I have beer.